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Defaced Merchandise

Why it’s Done & How to Sell It


Major Retailers often remove or damage labels, tags or UPC codes on their merchandise in a bid to ensure all overstock goods being sold in the secondary market are known. This prevents the reseller, or new end user from returning the item to the store for credit or a full refund.

Other times, defaced merchandise can be found in outlet stores. This is to ensure any outlet store item can’t be returned to the retail stores and thus interfering with the separate inventory systems.

The defacement in no way impacts the condition or functionality of the merchandise for reselling potential. In fact, seeing this on your sourced merchandise is a good tell as it informs you the merchandise comes from a major retailer and most likely is in demand by your customers.

WHEN SELLERS REQUIRE YOU TO DEFACE: Sometimes, the retailer will indicate in the listing that they require you – the buyer – to deface the merchandise prior to listing it for sale. In these case, you’ll need to know how the retailer wishes for their items to be defaced.

For boxed items, this could be as simple as drawing a line through the UPC code on the box. For clothing pieces, this could render in a few different ways:

  • Removing sale tags
  • Drawing a line through the tag barcode and logo
  • Removing the labels from inside the clothing piece
  • Drawing a line through the logo on the label inside the clothing piece
  • Removing heat stamps

HOW TO RESELL DEFACED MERCHANDISE: So, you’ll need to roll up your sleeves a bit more to resell this merchandise, and maybe even try different resell channels outside your comfort zone. It’s ok, we’ve got you covered.

For starters, with so many restrictions on Amazon, eBay is most likely your go to channel for a lot of defaced merchandise as you can be very clear about the merchandise in your listing description and speak with your potential customers through messages prior to bidding and/or buying. For the pros, cons and fees associated with reselling on eBay, check out a recent article we ran after consulting with some of our top buyers.

In the listing descriptions, be honest. Let the prospective buyer know the label, tag or barcode has been defaced due to the reselling policy of the original retailer. Detail this defacement has not affected the functionality of the item and it’s still classified as a ‘like-new’ item. For even more great tips on writing great listing descriptions, check out another recent article on our Education Center.


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